Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series

The Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series is a cigar that was exclusive to Tobacconists Association of America (TAA) retailers.  Each year, cigar manufacturers are given the opportunity to provide exclusive releases to those retailers that are members of the TAA.  These can be exclusive blends, exclusive vitolas, and/or early release cigars.  Many times the exclusive offerings are done on a limited basis.  In 2009, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars had the opportunity to provide TAA retailers an exclusive limited production release.  For the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series, there were three vitolas that were provided.  Today, these cigars are probably more difficult to find.  Given at the time of this assessment the 2013 TAA Convention is taking place, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series.  Overall, while this might not be a cigar for everyone, it still delivers a solid smoking experience.

First up a little background on the TAA.  This is a small group of retailers (the TAA web-site lists a total of 71).  As per their web-site, the TAA is defined as:

“The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.”

The TAA describes their mission statement as:

To provide an open forum of ideas, strategies, and problem solving between retail tobacconist and vendors to the trade.

One of the objectives of the TAA exists is:

To function as a buying group that takes advantage of industry close outs and passes huge savings to members, and exclusively provides high-quality cigars and pipes manufactured by TAA associate members and under TAA-owned trademarks.


It is this objective above that most likely fits with the concept of the TAA exclusive cigars.   Let’s take a closer look at the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series and see what this cigar delivers.

Blend Profile

There is not a lot known about the blend of the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series.  It doesn’t appear at the time of the release, there was not a lot disclosed.  We are listing the components as “Unknown”.

Wrapper: Unknown
Binder: Unknown
Filler: Unknown

Vitolas Available

As noted above, we do know that the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series was released in three sizes.  This is not common for a limited production TAA release to be released in three frontmarks:

Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Torpedo: 6 1/2 x 50

Appearance

For this cigar assessment, I smoked the the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series in the Robusto size.    The TAA Signature Series has a medium brown colored wrapper.  The wrapper is oily in complexion and is slight bumpy.  The wrapper seams are reasonably well hidden, but there are some visible veins.  The cigar does have nice barnyard aroma from cap to foot.

Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series – without paper covering

The Rocky Patel TAA Signature series features an metallic styled burnt orange colored band.  On the band is the circular “RP” logo in black with some red striping.  Under the logo it says “TAA” in black font.  The text “SIGNATURE SERIES” sits below the “TAA” text in a smaller black font.

The cigar features a brown colored secondary paper covering that covers a little more than half of the TAA Signature Series Robusto.  The brown is a shade darker than the cigar wrapper.  The paper covering has the TAA logo and the text “WWW.T-A-A.COM” stamped (in gold coloring) on it.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my cigar experience with the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series, I removed the paper covering that covered much of the cigar.  I then placed a straight cut into the cap to remove it.  At this time I commenced with the pre-light draw.  The cold draw yielded notes of chocolate, grass, mild cherry, and some natural tobacco.  Overall, I considered the pre-light draw to the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series to be satisfactory.  At this time, it was time to light up the cigar and see what the overall smoking experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series featured some primary flavors of grass and earth.  There also was a background spice that seemed to be a cross of cedar and pepper. As the cigar progressed through the first half, the grass and earth notes remained primary.  The spice evolved to more of an exotic pepper quality.  The pepper was definitely more prominent on the after-draw.  Meanwhile, the retro-hale was interesting as it seemed to have an herbal component to it.

In the second half, the pepper folded into the full-draw.  The pepper eventually joined the pepper and earth notes in the forefront.  Later in the second third, the pepper moved ahead and became the lone primary flavor.  The end of the cigar definitely had a spicy component to it.  The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

Overall, the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series is a well-constructed cigar and this is reflected nicely in the burn and draw attributes.  The burn required very little in the way of touch-ups as it kept a relatively straight line from start to finish.  The resulting ash was firm and had a grayish, charcoal color.   The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

The draw to the TAA Signature Series was also ideal.   It had just a touch of resistance and that made for an ideal draw in my book.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, the Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series has a little more pop than you might think.  I assessed this cigar to have just enough strength to fall into the medium to full range.  As for the flavors, there is some nice depth to the flavors as well.  Overall, I assessed the TAA Signature Series to be medium to full-bodied.  There was some excellent balance between both the strength and body – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.

Final Thoughts

The flavor profile of this cigar is going to provide a heavy dose of earth, grass, and spice.  I found this cigar lacked a lot in the way of sweetness and richness (i.e. coffee, vanilla, etc).  This is a flavor profile that probably is one that I don’t mind from time to time, but it also isn’t my first choice either.  The TAA Signature Series also could have offered more in the way of complexity. Still this is a well constructed and well-balanced cigar.   It also is not a bad cigar.  I’d probably steer this cigar more toward an experienced cigar enthusiast who has a palate similar to what this flavor profile offers.  As for myself, it’s a good change of pace cigar for me – and one I’d reach for from time to time.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Low
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 88

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from both Tinder Box of Charlotte (NC) and Old Virginia Tobacco Company in Richmond, Virginia.  These have been aging in the Cigar Coop humidor for 3 to 4 years.